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we have got to pull together not as republicans or as democrats but as californians first. at this stage in my life, i'm prepared to do exactly that. on the broadcast tonight, payback for public servants in a small town living high on the hog until the people found out about it and threw them out. what would you do? would you do what this father did if your child was being bullied on the bus to school? a story that touched a nerve. "in disgse." so many girls in a place the u.s. knows well live a lie with their family's blessing. and the bug business. the industry that's popped up and suddenly exploded aimed at eradicating bedbugs. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television with political anger roaring across the country tonight we go to a small town where the citizens found out how much their public servants were making and they went wild. it happened in bell, california, where the city manager for starters was making $800,000. tonight, eight current and former town officials are in jail. the l.a. county d.a. is calling this corruption on steroids and all public officials like them across the country should probably regard this as a warning shot. we begin tonight with nbc's george lewis who is in the l.a. suburb. george, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the eight are accused of misappropriating $5.5 million of city funds for their own use. authorities from the district's attorney's office rounded them
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up first thing this morning. >> do you have anything to say about the charges? >> reporter: the big fish is the former bell city manager robert rizzo picked up at his luxury home in huntington beach, california, accused of stealing $4.3 million in public funds. >> rizzo, acting as the unelected and unaccountable czar of the city of bell, secretly set his own salary. >> reporter: rizzo is one of eight bell city officials present and former arrested today. the others are accused of miss appropriating $1.2 million. officers used a battering ram to break down the door of bell mayer oscar hernandez when he delayed coming out. >> the complaint alleges they used the tax dollars collected from the hard-working citizens of bell as their own piggy bank which then then looted at will. >> reporter: the district attorney making it clear he's
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going after anyone involved in this. >> i would charge my mother if i had evidence against my mother. >> i need respect from everybody. please. >> reporter: the people of bell stormed city council meetings after learning in july about the six-figure salaries officials were receiving. today, citizens were elated at news of the arrest. >> i went like this! yeah! we did it! >> reporter: the california attorney general now making a run for governor has sued bell city officials demands that they give back most of their hefty salaries. >> this is something when you see it you can smell it. and this stinks to high heaven. >> reporter: rizzo and the others are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning. the district attorney says he intends to ask the judge to set bail for rizzo at $3.6 million. brian? >> george lewis in bell, this one motivated by anger.
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a story tonight about a father's angry reaction to kids billying his daughter who has a disability. what happened next is causing a big reaction across the country. our own kerry sanders has more. >> reporter: on a school bus in suburban orlando, a father's fury caught on a security camera. >> my daughter can get on this [bleep] bus and the [bleep] and this is it. >> reporter: 42 year old james willy jones arrested for disorderly conduct admits his temper got the better of him. today -- >> i held it the wrong way when i went on the bus. >> reporter: he explained why he went so far as to threaten to kill students on the bus. he says they were bullying his 13 year old daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. >> it's not about me. it's about kids getting bullied, going to school, even if you're walking to school. my action was very much out of character for me. but my daughter, i feel, i love
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her and i support her. >> school officials say jones never chained that his daughter was being harassed but in the deputy's report he alleges that schoolboys twisted her ear and shouted rude comments at her. and as this security camera footage from the day before reveals, tossed an opened condom. >> reporter: the national center for bullying prevention,, estimates 160,000 students stay home from school every day fearing they'll be bullied. now add james jones daughter to the list. they are providing a response that makes the person bullying feel empowered and in control. >> the national center for bullying prevention,, estimates 160,000 students stay home from school every day
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fearing they'll be bullied. now, add james jones' daughter to the list. she's in a hospital because of what her father calls "debilitating anxiety" a result of the bullying. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. this was the day americans who opposed the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the u.s. military thought maybe the policy of "don't ask don't tell" would be repealed. it didn't happen. but before that, there was high drama on capitol hill over what would happen, even a huge celebrity made her plea for a change in the policy. our own kelly o'donnell has been covering the story and she's with us tonight from washington. kelly, good evening. >> hi, brian. >> reporter: the emotions run deep and the intensity playing out is, to some degree, about the future of the policy itself and a lot is about politics. with just a few weeks to go before the mid-term elections. >> this is a blatant political
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ploy in order to try to galvanize the political base of the other side which is facing a losing election. >> it is wrong to suggest that the fight legislatively is election-driven. >> reporter: republicans effectively blocked repealing the 17-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the military so the president's often-repeated promise goes unfulfilled. >> i will end the "don't ask don't tell." that's my commitment to you. >> reporter: failing to deliver has angered liberal voters. that frustration took stage on monday in maine where music sensation, lady gaga, toned down her looks and turned up the heat. >> doesn't it seem to you that we should send home the prejudice? the straight soldier who hates the gay soldier? >> reporter: they chose maine trying to win over senator susan
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collins, a moderate republican. >> i think it's the right thing to do. i think it's only fair. >> reporter: but today, collins and all republicans voted "no." >> it's totally political and all set up for the november 2nd election. >> reporter: republicans claim democrats were rushing to fire up the voters and refused to wait for a december pentagon report on changing the policy. democrats say top brass already want to end the ban. >> secretary gates, a republican? decides this policy must change, because there's an election coming up? of course not. >> reporter: and democratic leaders have tried to pass the repeal by adding it on to a big military spending package. and two democrats voted no, both from arkansas, including senator blanche lincoln who is at serious risk of losing her seat in november. brian? >> and the whole mess in washington continues for another day. kelly o'donnell with our report. thanks. this has been an awful day for americans in afghanistan. nine u.s. service members killed this morning when their chopper went down in southern afghanistan.
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the deadliest chopper crash in more than four years for any of the nato forces. question now, of course, were they shot down by the taliban? our own john yang is in kabul and he's with us from there. john, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. military officials say this appears to be an accident, not a shootdown. but still as you say, the worst helicopter crash since may of 2006. today's nine deaths bring the u.s. death toll to at least 351 for this year. still, more than three months to go in 2010 but already, it's the deadliest year for both u.s. and coalition forces. the helicopter that crashed today was a black hawk. the crash is under investigation. officials say there's no indication of any hostile fire. that, despite the taliban claim that they shot the helicopter down. meanwhile, another threat to
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the stability to the government of hamid karzai in afghanistan. mounting claims of fraud in this past weekend's parliamentary election almost on the scale of last year's tainted presidential election. so growing challenges here, both on the security front and on the political front, brian. >> thank you for all of it, john yang in kabul, afghanistan, for us tonight. it has happened again, just south of the u.s. border in the fierce fight between the drug cartels and the mexican government. another journalist has been killed sending a chilling message about how journalist cover the dangerous and violent war on drugs. nbc's mark potter has been reporting exclusively on the war next door to the u.s. he has more tonight on this latest round and a deadly campaign of intimidation. >> reporter: at a dusty funeral over the weekend in juarez, mexico, local journalist mourn the loss of one of their own, an intern at the city's newspaper. 21-year-old louise santiago, a
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photographer, was shot and killed in his car outside a busy shopping center in broad daylight last week. another intern was also shot but survived the attack. colleagues grieved at the crime scene. the gunman escaped. juarez, mexico, is now considered the most dangerous city in the world. a vicious war there between the drug cartels, gangs and the police, left 2800 people dead last year and 2200 more, so far, this year. in response to newspaper published a front-page editorial addressing the drug traffickers directly and it read -- you are at present the de facto authorities in this city. we ask you to explain what you want from us and what we should try to publish or not publish so we know what to expect. a mexican government spokesman condemned the newspaper saying that no one should negotiate with criminals. the acting newspaper editor shot back saying if the authorities cannot guarantee citizens the right to be informed, then we want to know who can.
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>> in mexico, the government cannot, will not, does not protect journalists. >> reporter: and there are other dangers. when a car bomb went off in juarez earlier this year, the photographer who shot it was badly injured. by exploding the car bomb here at this intersection in juarez, the traffickers ratcheted up the drug war to a new level of violence and authorities fear the violence will escalate and spread. as that happens, more and more mexican journalists are under siege. mark potter, nbc news. back in washington, the white house announced tonight president obama's chief economic adviser, larry summers is leaving to go back to a job at harvard university by the end of the year. the president is reportedly considering replacing summers with someone from the corporate world. that would be in response to criticism that his innercircle and economic team has been
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lacking private-sector business experience. if you've paid to check a bag or bought a snack, airline profit margins for the second quarter of this year were the highest they've been since 2002. that's because the major airlines say they cut schedules, they are flying packed planes and charging fees for just about everything that used to be free in the air. the industry as a whole, pulled in more than $3 billion in the second quarter, with low-fare carriers like southwest and jetblue reporting the highest profit margins. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, a stunning look at the lives of young girls who are being raised, instead, as boys. and later, taking the nationwide fight of bedbugs to a whole new level.
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we're back now with a look at a long hidden secret about every-day life in afghanistan where girls cannot always be who
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they are. a documentary airing tonight on the cable channel hd net reveals the length that some afghan families go to, to created a better life for themselves and most importantly, their children. our own kate snow has more on this "secret in plain sight." >> reporter: they look like any other middle-class family in kabul. mom makes breakfast and kids get ready for school. but 6-year-old mehran is not what he seemed. two years ago, the mom told her youngest daughter she would be getting a haircut. >> and you would be a son after this. would you like to be? she says, wow! play outside? fight with the boys? and also, play football? play cricket? i like it. let's go. >> reporter: as hard as it may be for americans to understand, in afghanistan, families cherish boys so much they often cry when a girl is born. in partnership with the "new
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york times," dan rather's team spent several months talking with families that changed girls to boys for a program airing on hd net tonight. >> the reason they do it is, one, to bring honor to the family and make the family part of the afghan tradition and be accepted by peers. number two, to give the child an opportunity to go to school. >> reporter: it's been quietly happening for generations in the language it means "dressed up as a boy." girls are drains and boys are contributors. that comes down to the fundamental difference. i think you see afghan women changing that but it will take time. >> reporter: ironically, she's a champion for women's rightses, one of the rare female members of parliament but when constituents came to her home they would say how sorry they were that the family had no boys. now they proudly show off their son. in this secretive tradition,
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he'll likely be raised as a boy until she's a teenager, ready to be married off, which, by the way, is exactly what happened to her mother, who spent years of her own life as a boy. kate snow, nbc news, new york. when we come back, a medal of honor for an act of heroism that was kept secret for 42 years.
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at a white house ceremony, the president awarded the medal of honor to a military hero. however, air force chief master sergeant richard etchberger was not there to receive the honor. he died in the line of duty in march of 1968. it's because of his mission and because of where he died in laos that it's taken this long. we were not supposed to be in laos on that day in 1968. he intentionally exposed himself to enemy fire to place three wounded men on board rescue choppers. they were under attack by thousands of enemy and as they flew away, ground fire hit and killed him. the president today said this was all a part of righting a wrong from an entire era.
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>> today, also marks another chapter in a larger story of our nation finally honoring that generation of vietnam veterans who served with dedication and courage but all too often, were shunned when they came home. which was a disgrace. it must never happen again. >> his three sons were there today. at the emotional event to accept the thanks of a grateful president, a proud branch of the u.s. armed forces and, of course, a grateful nation. it was a stunning sight last night, the first time the skies over the united states looked that way since 1951 by our reckoning. that's because jupiter was a bright light right overhead. its closest pass to us in a generation. it will remain bright and prominent for the rest of this month so don't worry. and with binoculars you can see uranus right behind it.
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things won't be this way in the sky again until 2022. he plays a former convict who always seems to be on the make, but last night, he was every inch an academy-award winning movie star. man in full on the red carpet four blocks from this building at the new york premiere of his new movie "wall street 2." michael douglas who also happens to be our announcer is in the midst of one of three rounds of chemo and radiation for throat cancer and last night, he took time out to shine the only way a star knows how. up next here tonight, the epidemic that's also become a huge industry and it's all based on getting them before they get to you.
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finally here tonight during the dinner hour, bedbugs. we have covered their slow and nasty march across this country, every little one of them. they're such a big problem now invading homes, hotels, college dorms and even stores and movie theaters. it's officially an epidemic and as you can imagine, they are the talk of the bug gathering going on right now in chicago, a special summit devoted to finding and killing the pests
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from which our own kevin tibbles reports on tonight. >> reporter: tiny, thirsty and biting their way across america and these are the people that stop them in their tracks. in chicago at the first national bedbug summit, no less, where one can learn all sorts of ways to snuff the critters out. you can freeze them -- >> that's minus 100 degrees fahrenheit. >> minus 100 degrees fahrenheit so if you're a bedbug you're frozen. >> reporter: if you want to toast them, there's the thermax heat remediation solution or the bedbug inferno. >> instead of throwing it away we'll heat treat it in our trailer and kill them suckers dead. >> reporter: even special covers to keep them out. >> is this a mattress that's meant for bedbug control? >> the mattress encasement for bedbug control.
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>> reporter: once a worry mainly for international travelers nowadays bedbugs have been found in all 50 states and each infested american household will spend between two and $4,000 getting rid of them. >> other parts of the world, they just live with bedbugs but americans aren't going to do that. >> reporter: but don't be ashamed if you get bit. >> it isn't a matter of my own personal cleanliness whether or not i bring them into my house. they come anyway. >> the cleanest people in the world get bedbugs. the best hotels get bedbugs. >> don't get embarrassed, get scooby. he sniffs out the bedbugs and once he does, you can get even. >> they want your blood. >> i want to freeze them to death. >> reporter: all in a day's work in the bedbug biz. kevin tibbles, nbc news, chicago. they're coming for all of us. that's our broadcast this tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. tomorrow night on this
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broadcast, we'll have a report on the controversial new film that may change how a lot of people think about education in this country. and that includes teachers' unions and charter schools. the name of the documentary is "waiting for superman." again, our story here on the broadcast tomorrow night. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. until then, good night. good evening, everyone, welcome, i'm tom cinco visit. i'm lisa kim. imagine a city-funded housing facility for alcohols, nothing to do with treatment. in fact, residents will actually be given free alcohol. nbc bay area's traci grant is live in san francisco tonight where elected officials are considering a program that they say will keep chronic alcoholics off the street and save the city some money.

NBC Nightly News
NBC September 21, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST

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